The Bear Aware program that has been offered in the Bella Coola Valley since 2009 has now evolved into the WildSafeBC program and although our name has changed we still have the same basic mandate, which is to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation.
WildSafeBC is a program owned and operated by the BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF) and exists because of cooperation and funding from the provincial government, the BCCF, local and regional governments and through the support of individuals and private organizations. I am now in my third year with the program, and it is the community who directs the coordinator on how they would like this program run, and how best to serve its mandate.
This year with the name change, the focus is not only on bears, but on all forms of wildlife that come into conflict with people. While bears will always be our primary focus here in the valley, we now have information to share on animals such as coyotes, cougars and deer.
We have found that there are many ways to deal with things that draw wildlife on to properties here in the Valley, and the coordinator’s job is to help find solutions to these ongoing issues. One solution that has proven to be very effective in other agricultural based communities in B.C. is the implementation of electric fencing.
A good and common example of its use in these communities would be in the electric fencing of a fruit tree. With the correct fence and strategy, this tool has proven to work very well not only in keeping the trees safe from bears, but also keeping bears safe from conflict.
Because of the effectiveness of this tool, recently electric fencing clinics, run by the Bella Coola Bear Working Group, have been brought in to the Valley. A measurable result has been the new implementation of several electric fences, and many more planned.
As a tried and tested strategy when it comes to protecting a property owner’s garden and fruit trees as well as the wildlife that surrounds it, we look forward to more electric fence installations going up this year, along with other means that promote a healthy co-existence with the wildlife in our community. If anyone needs help or further information on this program please call me (Ellie 250 957 8445) and I will come over with some ideas.
Thank you community members of the Bella Coola Valley, for the opportunity to serve you once again this year through the use of a Bella Coola styled WildSafeBC program! Have a great summer!